students looking at their phones

Keeping Pace with Gen Z Students Through Mobile Access

From Toddlers to Trendsetters

If you remember watching movies at home on VHS or BetaMax, listening to cassette tapes in your car or on a bulky Walkman with attached headphones, then you probably recall the early mobile phones.

The size of a house brick with limited functionality, these phones were lugged around by anyone aspiring to be on trend and classed as a “Yuppie” — the eighties phrase to describe those who were young, professional and upwardly mobile. 

Fast forward a few years into the nineties, and mobiles became commonplace and considerably smaller with added features including digital cameras and the ability to text. Then came the smartphone, and even toddlers were adept at operating these mini-computers that connected them to rest of the world via the internet. Games were no longer received once a year in a brightly colored box at Christmas; they were instantly accessible on their parents’ smartphones.

These toddlers were part of a new generation, Gen Z, and for them the technology has always been part of their experience. It’s unimaginable to them to live in a world where things aren’t available at the tap of a keyboard, swipe of a phone or touch of a button.

The generations before them broke their own molds and pushed the boundaries with new styles of music and fashion, but Gen Z are the ones dragging the Baby Boomer and Gen X technophobes into a brave new world of lifestyle technology.

At Uni, Gen Z Sets the Pace

Gen Z are now studying in universities around the globe, and their choice of place to study is based on far more than course quality and availability. They have high expectations for their student experience and mobile access is way up on their wish list.

They want to be able to navigate their student life via their phone in the same way that they use it for everything else. They want to use their phones to pay for transport, food and facilities, to gain entry into secure areas, keep up-to-date with important notifications and alerts, learn about upcoming events and be able to raise the alarm in an emergency. And they can. Mobile access isn’t coming. It’s already here and proving its worth in North America and Australia and in the process of being rolled out in Europe.

Mobile Access is a Must, Not a Want

Students no longer need to worry about losing the plastic cards required to gain access into their classes or accommodation. Gen Z rarely lose sight of their phones, but in the unlikely event that they do, their secure authentication set up prevents anyone else from gaining access — unlike a card, which can be used by anyone who finds it until it has been manually revoked by security staff, sometimes hours or days later.

Gen Z is also environmentally conscious and loves the sustainability of mobile access over plastic cards — another win-win for universities that have eco targets to meet and are willing to look beyond the tried and tested plastic cards they have relied on for years.

‘’Everything here is about the student experience,” said Mano Soler, Director of Student Services and Operations at Les Roches Marbella. “It is our main driver and the reason we embrace and foster innovation — because innovation makes our students’ lives easier and supports their wellbeing through secure technology. The students will eventually leave this campus and, in turn, take that know-how and excellence into the world with them.’’

Driving Advantages on Every Front

But the advantages for universities doesn’t end there. Enrollment and control of access parameters is so much quicker and easier on a digital campus card, freeing up staff to deal with other tasks.

Universities have found that mobile access increases student engagement and makes communication far easier, as apps allow instant notification alerts that may affect students urgently, such as burst water pipes or cancelled lectures. Many universities have previously complained of experiencing low uptake of important apps that give students access to emergency help, but when integrated via mobile access, they instantly have it at their fingertips without needing to download a separate app. Everything the student needs is in one easily accessible place.

There are also financial benefits for universities with return on investment opportunities and proven year-on-year cost savings over plastic cards. The technology is also future proof; Once installed, it can evolve with the demands of the university and its students as more features and possibilities become available.

The benefits are numerous, and the momentum of mobile access is building rapidly, yet there still are some Gen X “die hards” working in universities today that want to cling to the old way of doing things, simply because it is what they are used to. It might work for them, but will it work for students? I would like to say the choice is yours, but ultimately it is the students who will decide by taking their student fees elsewhere in search of a modern, pioneering university that understands their needs.

The students have spoken: mobile access is a must. Stay informed on the latest developments, integrations and ROI opportunities mobile access can bring to your university by subscribing to our newswire >>